Annie rolled out of bed and dashed to the chamber pot. Once again, despite its emptiness, her stomach heaved. Cameron leapt out of bed and held her hair for her while she was sick. “I should have let you sleep in your own room. I know this is a less than pleasant sound to wake up to,” Annie stated once the nausea passed.
“I’m sure it’s a much less pleasant sensation to wake up to,” he replied. “I promised that I’d be here for you, no matter what.”
“I appreciate the sentiment, but this is not what I had in mind when I asked for your help.” Annie stood up and headed for her wardrobe. “I need to get something in my stomach.”
“Are you sure? Won’t that just make you wretch again?”
“No. It’s always worse when I haven’t eaten.” Annie pulled on a day dress then pinned her hair half up. “Feel free to go back to sleep.”
“No, I’d better get ready too. I’ll join you for breakfast in a minute then head to work.”
“Okay.” Annie left the room and walked down to the kitchen.
“Half-after six. Right on time,” Mary said wearily. “Are we doing biscuits and tea again?”
“Yes. And some strawberries if you don’t mind.”
“Not at all.”
“Cameron will be down in a few minutes. He’ll probably want something more substantial than biscuits and tea.”
Mary returned with a pot of tea and some strawberries. “The biscuits will be done in a few minutes.”
“So you talked last night,” Mary asked as she scrambled some eggs.
“Did it go well?”
“Not at first. But we eventually figured things out. Well, some things. We can figure the rest out later. Frankly I was exhausted last night. I still am.”
“Well no doubt your late night excursion had something to do with that,” Mary replied then handed Annie a plate of biscuits. “Eat up then you can go back to sleep.”
“Yes mom,” Annie replied sarcastically.
Mary’s response was a brief chuckle. Annie certainly seemed to be in better spirits this morning. Maybe their talk had helped.
Annie sipped at the tea and devoured the strawberries. “Could I have some more strawberries?”
“Not until you finish those biscuits.”
“Ugh. Very well.” Annie was on her second biscuit when Cameron entered the kitchen. He walked straight over to her and planted a firm kiss on her mouth. Then he turned and walked towards Mary.
“Good morning Mary.” He looked cheerful.
“Good morning Cameron,” she smiled back. “I assume you’re hungry.”
“Aren’t I always,” he chuckled.
“Sit down. I’ll bring you a plate.”
Cameron strutted over to the kitchen table and plopped down into the chair next to Annie’s. Both she and Mary dissolved into laughter. “He’s awful happy this morning,” Annie declared.
“He is indeed,” Mary laughed.
“Hey Mary, what do they call it when a man struts around as if he owns the whole world,” Annie asked.
“I believe the term is cocksure” she chuckled.
“Yes, I believe you are correct,” Annie stated matter-of-factually. Mary chuckled once more then came to the table and placed a plate of bacon and eggs in front of Cameron.
Cameron had ignored the women’s jesting. He was just happy to see Annie laugh, if only for a bit. “It certainly is nice to see that Annie hasn’t eaten all the bacon yet. I had thought, given her current condition that is, that she would have divested the entire city of New York of its bacon supply.”
Annie waved off his comment. The thought of bacon made her stomach turn. “I assure you Cameron, the city has a surplus of bacon for your consumption, and I anticipate that it will remain well stocked for the next few months,” Annie replied then scooted her chair away.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t realize that bacon made you sick,” he replied, concern written all over his face. “Here, you stay where you are. I’ll move.”
“No, don’t worry about it. I’ll be fine,” Annie assured him. “I can handle the scent. It’s the idea of eating it that makes me feel ill.”
“Very well. While we’re talking about it, are there any other foods I should avoid mentioning?”
“Yes. Oranges,” she blurted. “Oh, and any type of alcohol. Just the mere mention of wine makes me long for a glass.”
Cameron chuckled then tore into his breakfast. Annie watched enviously as he ate his bacon. She silently scolded the embryo growing inside her, I hope you’re happy. Your daddy gets to eat bacon and I don’t because you refuse to let me keep it down. Cameron finished his breakfast a few minutes later. Reluctantly he got up from the table and took his plate to the sink. “Well, as much as I wish I could stay with you fine ladies, I must go to work.” He walked over to the table and gave Annie another long kiss, “I’ll see you later,” he whispered.
“Okay,” she whispered back.
“We have a lot to discuss.”
“Yes we do.”
“I love you.”
“I love you too,” Annie replied. She watched as Cameron left the kitchen. She actually felt sad to see him go. Oh, he’s only going to work. He’ll be home later she told herself.
“Go get some rest Annie. I’ll send for you if I need anything,” Mary said.
“I will. Thank you.” Annie left the kitchen and climbed up the stairs. She changed back into her nightgown then curled up on Cameron’s side of the bed. She was asleep seconds later.
Annie was awakened by a soft knock on the door. “Annie, its Mary. A message just came for you.”
Annie climbed out of bed and opened the door. “Come in,” she said. Mary entered the room and closed the door. Annie took the note from Mary and read it. As she had suspected it was from Madison.
My dearest Annie,
I hope that I am not intruding upon your grief. I know this must be a difficult time for you. However, I have a very important subject to discuss with you. If you have the strength please come to my house today as soon as possible. Remember, you have my deepest sympathies and most of all my love.
I look forward to seeing you soon.
With all my love,
Annie set the letter aside. With all her love, yeah right. She was about to ask her to commit a murder that could very well result in her death. “I was wondering how long it would take her to contact me,” Annie finally said.
“Are you going to go today,” Mary asked.
“Yes. The sooner I get this done, the sooner Cameron and I can move on with our lives.”
“Very well. You get dressed. I’ll summon a carriage for you.”
“Thank you Mary.” Annie said.
Once Mary was gone, Annie shrugged out of her nightgown and put on the dress she had worn earlier that morning. She brushed her tangled hair then pulled it back in various styles, none of which looked good. Finally she French braided her hair then pinned the loose end to her head. It would do. She pulled on a hat and took her purse then left her room.
The carriage ride was longer than usual. Annie took the time to quiet her emotions. She could not afford to reveal the pain and anger she was feeling inside. The fact that Madison, who she thought was her friend, would care so little about her life hurt her. For the millionth time since she arrived in the past, Annie thought that she really needed to re-examine her ability to read people’s character. By the time she reached Madison’s town house she had composed herself and plastered on a morose and tired face.
“Oh Annie, I’m so glad you came,” Madison said as she welcomed Annie into the house. “My dear, you look exhausted.”
“The past few days have been trying to say the least,” Annie replied.
“I understand completely. Here, come into the sitting room. I’ll have some tea brought in, then we can chat. I promise this won’t take long.”
“Thank you Madison.”
Fifteen minutes later Annie and Madison were nestled in the sitting room, each of them drinking a cup of tea. “I know you must be curious as to why I summoned you over here,” Madison stated as she set her teacup down on the coffee table.
“I am very curious,” Annie lied.
“Well, what I’m about to tell you is of a very confidential nature,” her eyes bored into Annie’s, as if trying to convey the importance of her coming statement. “I hope you know how much I trust you Annie. You have been a dear friend to me ever since your arrival here. I am incredibly grateful to you.”
“I appreciate that Madison. You have been so gracious to me and so caring. You have made my transition here very pleasant.”
“I’m glad,” Madison sipped her tea. “I know how much you cared for Major Andre.”
Annie lowered her eyelashes, a tear escaped her eye. Just the thought of him brought tears to her eyes, but for an entirely different reason than Madison believed. “Yes. He was very important to me.” She was amazed how easily the lie came.
“His murder must have deeply affected you. I can see it in your eyes.”
Annie nodded. “Yes, his death has been hard on me,” Annie dabbed at her eyes with her handkerchief. “My only solace is that he is in a better place now, a place without war.”
“Oh Annie, I do admire your optimism,” Madison smiled. “The only thing that I admire more about you is your deep sense of justice. That is what I am appealing to now.”
“I don’t understand Madison.”
“I know. I’m about to explain.” Madison shifted closer to her on the settee then grabbed her hands. “It is not right that the man who perpetrated this crime is free to walk the streets. He should be punished for his crimes. Unfortunately, getting to him is next to impossible, at least for the men of my acquaintance. That means a woman must be the one who completes this unpleasant, but necessary task. I wish I could do it, but my position as a loyalist is too well known for me to get close to the man. You, however, are an unknown and could easily accomplish this task.”
“Madison, what task is it you want me to accomplish?”
“I want you to kill General Washington.”
Annie thought for a moment. She didn’t want to appear too eager to comply. “Madison, I appreciate your faith in me. I am flattered that you would ask this of me. But surely General Washington must know of my relationship with Major Andre.”
“No, Annie, he is blissfully unaware of who you are. My sources within his camp have assured me of that.”
“Why not have one of those sources commit the assassination?”
“Because they are all either British or from loyalist families, and therefore General Washington is suspicious of them. They are perfectly capable of getting information from some of the junior officers, but they cannot get close enough to harm him. Please, I’m begging you Annie, do this for me and for yourself.”
Annie was silent for a moment. Finally she spoke, “Well, if you think I’m the right person for the job then I accept.”
“Oh, thank you Annie. I promise, his death will bring you peace and closure.”
“I hope so. When am I supposed to leave on this trip?”
“I’m not sure yet. My sources inside his camp are gathering information as we speak. As soon as I hear from them I will contact you and we will make a plan.”
“Very well,” Annie nodded.
“Now, you should get home. You look exhausted. Go and get some rest, I will send for you the moment I have news.”
“Thank you Madison.”
“No, thank you Annie. You are doing a great service to your country.”
Annie gave a half smile then left. She arrived back at the boardinghouse at half-after two. Mary was waiting in the entryway for her. “Annie, I’m so glad you’re back,” she smiled. “Did you eat lunch?”
“You must be hungry.”
“Here, join me in the kitchen. I’ll whip something up.”
Annie nodded then followed Mary to the kitchen. She warmed up some soup, bread, and tea. “How did the meeting go,” Mary said as she put Annie’s food on the table.
“Just as I expected,” Annie replied then took a bite of soup.
“So she asked you?”
“Did she say when?”
“No. Her sources are gathering information for her. She said she would contact me as soon as she heard something.”
Mary nodded. “Well eat up.”
Annie did just that. Once she was done she took a book from the library then headed out to the garden. It was a lovely day outside and she wanted to enjoy the sunshine while it lasted. She curled up on the bench and opened a copy of Gulliver’s Travels. She made it half-way through the first chapter then fell asleep.